China’s COVID-19 austerity limits fuel rebates

China’s COVID-19 austerity limits fuel rebates

China’s COVID-19 austerity limits fuel rebates

BEIJING, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Frustration simmered in China among residents and business groups navigating tighter COVID-19 control curbs, as the country on Friday reported another historic high in daily infections just weeks after hopes of easing were raised .

The resurgence of COVID cases in China, with 32,695 new local infections recorded for Thursday as many cities report outbreaks, has led to widespread lockdowns and other curbs on movement and business, as well as setbacks.

The French Chamber of Commerce in China called on authorities to implement COVID “optimization” measures it announced two weeks ago, in a statement widely shared on social media after the French embassy posted it on its Twitter-like Weibo account on Thursday .

The 20 measures, which include shortened quarantines and other more targeted steps, had “given hope” to French companies for more bilateral trade and economic exchange, but “good policies must also be implemented in a unified way and without adding layers of other conflicting policy”, says the chamber’s statement.

The announcement of the 20 measures, just as rising cases led to an increasingly heavy-handed response under China’s strict zero-COVID approach, has caused widespread confusion and uncertainty in major cities, including Beijing, where many residents are locked at home.

At the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, more than 20,000 new hires have quit following Covid-induced labor unrest this week, further jeopardizing production at Apple supplier Foxconn’s factory there, Reuters reported on Friday. read more

References to a speech by a man in the southwestern city of Chongqing asking the government to admit its mistakes on Covid were widely shared on Chinese social media, despite the work of censors.

“Give me freedom or death,” the bespectacled man told residents at the gate of a compound in an impassioned speech on Thursday, according to videos seen by Reuters.

“There is only one disease in the world, and that is to be both poor and not have freedom,” he added. “We’ve now got both. We’re still struggling and suffering from a bit of a cold.”

The man was later seen being bundled against a police car by security personnel, prompting angry shouts from onlookers.

Hashtags related to the man, whom netizens have dubbed “Chongqing’s superman brother” or “Chongqing hero” were censored on Friday. But individual users continued to show support by posting subtle messages or cartoon pictures of him.

ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES?

As shutdowns affect more people, some residents are suggesting alternative approaches for their communities. In Beijing, residents in some connections shared suggestions on WeChat about how infected neighbors could quarantine at home if they did not show severe symptoms.

It is not clear whether such proposals will succeed.

Messages outlining the circumstances under which health workers can remove a person from their home, aimed at educating people about their rights if asked to be taken to a quarantine center, were also circulated online.

Oxford Economics senior economist Louise Loo said in a note that reports of public discontent across provinces in partial or full lockdowns have picked up, as was the case during the last major outbreak in April, although these “do not yet reflect large-scale collective action”. .

“As before, we expect officials to respond quickly to contain the social risk of escalating protests, either through a combination of heavier information controls or with piecemeal easing of restrictions,” Loo said.

Although the outbreak in April was concentrated in Shanghai, clusters of cases this time are numerous and far-flung.

The southern city of Guangzhou and southwestern Chongqing have recorded the bulk of the cases, although hundreds of new infections have been reported daily in cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Jinan, Lanzhou, Xian and Wuhan.

Guangzhou, a southern city of nearly 19 million people, reported 7,524 new locally transmitted cases, while Chongqing reported 6,500 cases.

Beijing reported 1,860 cases on Thursday, while the northern city of Shijiazhuang quadrupled.

Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard, Shanghai and Beijing newsrooms; Written by Bernard Orr and Liz Lee; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Gerry Doyle and Tony Munroe

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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